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Table 5 Attributions of ‘Success’ and ‘Failure’ in relation to COAG National Action Plan initiatives

From: An analysis of policy success and failure in formal evaluations of Australia’s national mental health strategy (1992–2012)

COAG National Action Plan
Policy Lever Policy Objective Proposal(s) Success Failure
Organisation R&SA Improve youth mental health services Review and consolidate existing youth mentoring and early intervention programs into a single program Initiate new youth early intervention projects O- Substantively met  
R&SA Offer increased support for carers and families of people with mental illness Introduce a new Family Mental Health Support Service Increase mental health respite services for carers O- Substantively met R- Increase in respite places Increase in education and formal support services  
R&SA Greater employment and day-to-day living support for the mentally ill Indicators 9 and 10 Increase places in day-to-day living support programs and Personal Support program Increase number of Personal Helpers and Mentors Introduce Disability Employment Services group O- Substantively met Disability Employment Services Group introduced R- Increase in funding and service provision R- Employment rates remain low among the target group
R&SA Increase mental health workforce Increase the number of supported places in university mental health degrees, particularly to Indigenous students Specific funding targeted towards increasing Indigenous health workforce O- Substantively met R- Increase in supported places and scholarships for formal training  
SS Improve and integrate drug and alcohol services within broader mental health services Provide additional funding to drug and alcohol service providers O- Substantively met R- Funding increased, grants awarded to NGOs  
R&SA Increase service coverage in rural/remote areas Indicator 5 Introduce a 24-h 7 day mental health telephone service Increase web-based mental health resources O- Substantively met Flexible service delivery modes introduced (telephone, online services)  
SS Improve coordination of care Indicator 7 Introduce step-up and step-down community facilities Utilise community coordinators O- Partially met R- Principles and implementation guidelines developed R- Variable progress in jurisdictions Lack of consistent approach or outcome Lack of accountability
Regulation SQ&E Increase consultation between State/Territory and Federal Governments Establish COAG Mental Health Groups in each jurisdiction O- Substantively met  
SQ&E Increased accountability for reform outcomes Publish official progress reports annually O- Substantively met  
Payment R&SA Improve service provision in rural/remote areas Use of flexible funding models to improve access to allied and nursing mental health services in rural and regional areas O- Substantively met  
R&SA Increase health workforce in rural and remote areas, particularly mental health nurses Indicator 5 Introduce Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program Introduce flexible employment schemes for rural and regional areas O- Substantively met Incentives and flexible employment schemes introduced  
SS Improve links between primary and secondary providers Indicator 5 Introduction of new MBS items to support referral between health practitioners O- Substantively met  
Community Education R&SA Review mental health content in tertiary health degrees Review mental health content in tertiary health degrees O- Substantively met R- Final project reports identify an increased focus on mental health in both theoretical and clinical subjects  
  1. Key: Reform Priority Area: Human Rights and Community Attitudes (HR&CA), RCN Responding to Community Need, SS Service Structures, SQ&E Service Quality and Effectiveness and R&SA Resources and Service Access; Evaluation Measure: O Objectives, R Results, I Innovation, TG Target Group Impact; Unequivocal Successes and Failures appear in bold
  2. Bold letters are used to indicate the evaluation measures